Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Heart NYC

I'll be in NYC as of tomorrow afternoon for training and am looking forward to doing a little exploring when I have some downtime.  There are a few foodie places I'm really looking forward to visiting, including:

Eately: a little piece of heaven near the flat iron building. I browsed through it the last time I was there, but didn't a chance to sit down and enjoy any food- it was around 6pm on a Friday and it was PACKED. I'm hoping to catch it when it maybe isn't so crazy (and I recognize that may not ever be a possibility!)

Bar Americain: hands down one of the best brunches we've ever had in the city. And awesome cocktails too! 

Mexican eats.  We ate at Centrico a couple of years ago in the Tribeca area and it was some of the best Mexican I've had.  I was so sad to read it had closed. I'll have to look for a replacement. 

Balthazar was such a nice surprise! It's in Soho- there are lots of people buzzing around, wonderful servers and the food was incredible.  I would love to return again.

I plan on visiting the Union Square greenmarket- I missed it the last time I was there. I can't wait to browse and check out the great vendors. 

We had a great dinner at Hell's Kitchen a few years ago, my hubby's entree of a blueberry mole with pork was the best mole I've ever tasted (I had plate envy that night!). If I get the chance, I'd love to go back.  It's a teeny, tiny place but the food was amazing.

This will be the first time I've been in the city this late in the fall- I'm looking forward to seeing the colors in Central Park.  We also have tickets to see Macbeth at the Lincoln Centre, which I can't wait to see! 

What are your must-have's when visiting NYC?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

One of the easiest things to make for Thanksgiving or other holiday turkey dinner is homemade cranberry sauce. I have it down to a few simple steps: empty a bag of cranberries into a medium sized pot (I am fortunate to have access to local cranberries), add one frozen can of apple juice (yes, you read that correctly), add sugar and spices, then cook until it reduces and gets thick. The results are perfect every time.

One bag of cranberries (about 4 cups)
One can frozen apple juice (pure apple juice, not a juice like drink)
1/2 cup sugar (add more after you have tasted mixture while it cooks if you like it sweeter)
1/4 tsp each of nutmeg and all spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Bring to a boil, skim off foam.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and reduce until mixture gets thick and cranberries break down.

That's all there is to it! Super easy.  In total, it takes about 20 minutes and can be made well ahead of time.  It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Garden Update, Zone 6B

It has been a while since I took a few photos of the garden. Things are still in full swing, with arugula, Swiss chard, carrots, hot peppers, raspberries (golden and red) and cherry tomatoes (sungold and chocolate) still on the go.  My herbs are also doing well.  I haven't done too much yet to protect the crops as the weather has been cooperating (I have a few plastic hoop tunnels that I like to use to extend the season). 

In preparation for next year, I've planted tulip bulbs and relocated a lavender plant to one of our garden beds. I've also cleaned out almost all of the tomato plants and pulled out the container plants.  In a couple of weeks, before storing the containers, I'll give them a good wash outside.  By mid-November, I'll be ready to plant our garlic bulbs for next year's garden haul. 

The other step I'm going to take, and most likely this weekend, is to plant fall/winter greens and put the raised bed cover on one of the beds.  I'll likely plant a lot of spinach and arugula. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This time of year, there is nothing I like more in the kitchen than roasting vegetables.  The smell of vegetables caramelizing, shriveling up in the hot oven, are so comforting.  One of my favorite soup recipes is one that uses roasted butternut squash- a vegetable that is readily available this time of year at farmers markets and grocery stores.  I bought one at our local farmers market (Alderney market).

1 large butternut squash
3 leeks
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 piece of fresh ginger
1 can of coconut milk
1 container of stock
1 cup of water
Seasonings to taste

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Awesome Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake is one of those desserts that I like from time-to-time but always seem to find them a tad too sweet. I stumbled upon a recipe for an espresso chocolate cake earlier this summer and thought it sounded intriguing. I took the plunge this weekend and am glad I did. I made a couple of changes to the recipe, like adding a couple of layers of my strawberry jam- it helped to kick it up a notch with flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature ideally
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup espresso


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